Administering Medications

Not sure how to give a medication to your pet? 

Here are some tips and resources for all sorts of medications and treatments!


  • Be sure to follow the medication directions carefully.  Some medications must be given with or without food or a certain amount of time separated from other medications.
  • If your pet is challenging to medicate, be sure to talk to us about compounding.  Medications can often be compounded into different forms such as chews, melts, or liquids.  (This usually involves additional charges).  Some medications can even be made into transdermal liquids which can be administered by rubbing a small amount into the inside of your pet’s ear.  This is especially useful for cats. 

Make it a treat!

  • Disguising your pet’s medication as a tasty treat is a very good option!  Here are different options for coating or hiding medications:
    • Pill pockets
    • Pill wrap
    • peanut butter
    • bread
    • cheese
    • cream cheese
    • whipped cream
    • squeeze cheese
    • liver paste
    • hot dogs
    • marshmallows
    • lunchmeat
  • Some capsules/pills can be crushed or opened and mixed with food but be sure to check with your vet before doing so.  Some medications are very bitter and mixing with food may make it harder to administer.  Options for mixing include the foods above and also:
    • Canned food
    • Tuna juice
    • Clam juice
  • Do not crush/mix pills ahead of time as this can affect drug potency

Ear Medications

Eye Medications

  • For pets that do not like eye drops or ointments applied, do it when they are eating or enjoying a treat.  You can spread something tasty on a surface (such as peanut butter or spray cheese) and apply drops while they are licking it up.  Pro tip:  this sometimes works for nail trims as well!
  • Be sure not to touch your pet’s eye with the applicator when administering.
  • Don’t use too much!  Most eye drops or ointments require a very small amount (1 drop of a rice grain size of ointment). 

Liquid Medications


Your pet may need an injection for fluids given under the skin.  Have your veterinary staff demonstrate this technique until you feel comfortable with it. 


  • Try to make medication a rewarding experience!  If you are using a pill pocket or wrap, give them a few small pieces without medication and praise them when they eat it.  When they are gobbling up the pieces, give them the one with medication so they don’t notice it!
  • VIDEO: Giving dog medications


  • Cats have a very sensitive esophagus that can be burned when pills/capsules get stuck or slowly move down it.  Because of this, you should always follow pills or capsules with a small amount of water to wash the pill down.  Esophageal injury can cause life threatening strictures.
  • Cats can be very difficult to give pills to, so we try to give medications as liquids or transdermals whenever possible.  However, this is not always an option. 
  • VIDEO: Training your cat to take medication

Additional Resources